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Lost Bullet (2020)

Lost Bullet (2020)

Seems like the French just never go wrong with an action movie! Or one with car chases for that matter.

They've done it again and again with titles like Banlieue 13, Total Action and Taxi (and everything else Luc Besson's been involved with - I guess he's inspired others - maybe Guillaume Pierret is the next one up?), and here again, with the story of an unfortunate goon who cracks through four concrete walls in an attempted robbery, but the car stalls and he can't get his seatbelt off in time, and thus gets apprehended by the police and becomes part of their drug-deal intercepting squad.

Only things aren't all as they seem to be... and there's a girl. They show love in unconventional ways, and both the car chases and the fights have a combined kind of authenticity and flare that few movies do.

The last time I felt like this with a car chase in particular was during the one with Samuel Jackson and Ryan Reynolds in The Hitman's Bodyguard.

This was great. It keeps surprising. Keeps taking it to the next level. Remains authentic, and serious, and sometimes comical, while at the same time staying grounded and relatable in a way that few blockbusters do.

Also that sax behind the desk - or was it a tuba...? Little things like that. Love them. Love this movie. Can't get enough car/action movies like this - and the French blend is a little bit different than the Fast & Furious ones. Maybe a little more down to Earth. It's refreshing. The sceneries, the farm, the marshlands... there's that too.

France ain't a bad place to drive, or live, or possibly to try a life of crime and violence. Or to get caught in if you do.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

I'm getting tired of this.

It's the same thing all over again, only this time there's no John, there's a girl instead. And the Terminator's a girl - only she's no Terminator. And there's an old woman that needs more consolidation than the new girl, even though she's pretty much a Terminator herself.

The special effects aren't perfect. They're better than average, but I get annoyed with how much there is that's fake-looking, even when there doesn't need to be. The special effects haze comes in early with the first chase, and smoke, and fire. But it does get better.

Arnold seems to get better with age too. The effects get better. The characters get stronger. The emotions get stronger. The punchlines improve with Arnold. Eventually I get teary-eyed and everything and yet... it's just the same thing all over again.

The pace is quicker, the Rev 9's all the more merciless, yet it just doesn't get better than the first two movies. They keep trying to replicate that proven recipe but keep missing that secret ingredient. But maybe it's a secret ingredient that can only be used so many times.

Maybe it's youth? Maybe originality?

Part of me really liked this one, but when it's all said and done why not just let the franchise die this time. Or stop trying to do the same thing with it every single time. The terminators keep getting stronger and more ruthless, and more beautiful, but they're still Terminators. The threat's still AI. The method's still time travel. It's more relevant than ever and yet... it feels distant from what it once was too.

I can't come to any good conclusions here, but I don't think I would've rated this higher even if I'd never seen the prequels. It's too rushed. Too predictable. Too PC. Get things right.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Lock Up (1989)

Lock Up (1989)

Sylvester Stallone's first real prison movie! And realest yet.

I wonder if he borrowed some inspiration from Jackie's Island Of Fire/Dogs here too. They don't have much in common except for the very premise of prison, but they are both good, and he does one particular stunt here that definitely matched the danger levels in Jackie's. Unless they had a net below him. Bet his shins hurt either way.

Some behind the scenes would be cool for this one.

It's a story of a convict, who goes to prison, and gets set up, and has a hard time getting out of there. Shawshank Redemption meet Boyka - though this one came before both of those.

It's gritty, it's raw, it's realistic with a little flare for the dramatic. And what I really appreciate in movies from this time is also that they had a bit more character. No special effects. Just dialog. A good script. Moments of intensity that make you sit just a bit further out on the edge of your seat even when you're on edge already.

Looking at the recent Escape Plan trilogy I guess Stallone's always had a talent with this particular genre. As far as prison movies go this might be one of the best.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Sahara (1943)

Sahara (1943)

So similar. SO similar to the 1995 version with the same name.

Only here it was actually recorded in the middle of war time, and some of the fireworks that play in the background as they film... they seem pretty real. The ranks overall look pretty real. Everything about this looks real.

Suddenly the Hollywood remake feels tame in comparison. An illusionary revision, with big names but not at all the same sense of danger.

Dialog and accentery might sound strange and outdated, a remnant of the time, and the film quality's dark (and black and white - I should mention), but otherwise it's pretty damn authentic. I'm trying to imagine what this would have looked like if they had filmed it with modern technology way back then. Might've been legendary.

And hey it has Humphrey Bogart too! He wasn't bad. An icon I mostly know only by name. At his prime so long before my era.

In the end this might be one of the most solid black and white action movies I've seen yet. It certainly deserved those remakes, but I wonder if in some areas it doesn't still trump the improvements... technology still doesn't quite stand over realism yet.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

You Should Have Left (2020)

You Should Have Left (2020)

Was Kevin Bacon ever that good an actor? I'm not so sure anymore.

Maybe this movie just wasn't for him. Maybe he's getting old. In a way he fits right in, then moments later he overplays things. But then again maybe he is a good actor because he really feels old in this movie. Just like his character's meant to.

The movie was great though. Like a more ambient variant of House On Haunted Hill, but with a worse ending in that not even the character you're rooting for gets redemption.

It's creepy, sometimes serious, sometimes surprising. The filmography's great - playing with lights and shadows and all the right angles. Get it - right angles? Inside joke.

It ends with goosebumps, and yet it wasn't perfect all the way. The chemistry was good but Kevin looked dazed and confused a bit too often. They rushed some scenes too.

It's a solid scary movie but still a step from perfection. Feels like it barely makes a four but in the end...

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Getaway (1994)

The Getaway (1994)

It's a heist movie for the books, this one! I've seen it before, but I didn't remember it being this good. It's one that somehow fell off the radar when it comes to action classics, starring Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger and Michael Madsen, among others. And if there's one phrase you could sum it up with it'd be: no bullshit.

They don't talk around. They don't waste their time. They don't sit and do nothing, or feel sorry for themselves, or get caught up on vengeance - even when they really go through the motions. It's a modern-day (well, nineties, but still) Bonnie & Clyde type movie that's just a little more down to Earth. But still with plenty of grit. Nudity. Violence. Not too much of either.

Madsen almost ruins it a bit with his performance towards the end of it, but those are just brief glimpses of his non-movie personality shining through. Overall it's fantastic. Dusty, charismatic and explosive.

It's the very essence of a getaway, and good action overall.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

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